S outhern C ross
January 8 to January 14, 2014
What 2014 has in store for the pope and Vatican
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Analysis: Listen to Pope Francis’ voice
What SA can expect in 2014 BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
N 2014 we will have more of the same problems we saw in 2013: more scandal, more service delivery protests and further weakening of the rand—“but to a larger extent”, according to a Catholic political analyst. “Only if and when we see the ANC voting percentage drop drastically will we see change,” Mike Pothier, research coordinator for the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) told The Southern Cross. “I don’t see the ANC changing direction without them being forced. The only force is the fear of losing power. There is otherwise no incentive to change what they are currently doing,” Mr Pothier said. The fall-out from the Public Protector’s report on the R208 million security upgrades at Nkandla will be the first major political event of the year. The release of the inter-ministerial report on President Jacob Zuma’s residence in December seemed to be well received only by the ruling party with political commentators and opposition parties calling foul on the report, calling it a smokescreen to protect the president. “It’s clearly nonsense that it was all spent on security,” said Mr Pothier about the socalled “fire-pool” and “retaining wall” amphitheatre. Mr Pothier, who is also an advocate, said the big question is how the ANC responds to the Nkandla report. “Will they take it seriously? Or will this once again be symptomatic of the broader issue currently affecting government: the issue on how decisions get made and what the ethos is behind them?” He noted that “when money is spent on VIPs a different set of standards apply. Government is careful on spending minor amounts on small things; but when cabinet ministers or the president want something, they get it instantly with no questions asked”.
The clay model for a statue of the late Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban which is to be unveiled at the KwaThintwa School for the Deaf in Inchanga. The sculptors, Ruhan Janse van Vuuren and Andre Prinsloo, also made the statue of Nelson Mandela which was unveiled last month at the Union Buildings. The Kwa Thintwa School for the Deaf was founded in 1981 by Archbishop Hurley, with an initial intake of 40 pupils. The archdiocese of Durban still serves as the school’s sponsoring body, with the present archbishop of Durban, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, serving as the chairman and trustee of the institution’s sponsoring body. Archbishop Hurley, who headed the Durban archdiocese from 1946 to 1992, died on February 13, 2004 at the age of 88. (Photo courtesy of Ruhan Janse van Vuuren and Andre Prinsloo)
oting that Mr Zuma seems to be going from one scandal to another, Mr Pothier wondered “to what extent will people of integrity in the ANC come to realise Zuma is a liability”. The CPLO commentator said it is clear most cabinet members were content to stand behind Mr Zuma as part of a “patronage system”. “It’s a ‘keep quiet and you will be rewarded’ kind of system,” said Mr Pothier.
But not everyone is skilled in quietly benefitting. “Former communications minister Dina Pule was a like a child at a party: she got far too greedy and government was forced to take action. But there are many examples where nothing happens.” Mr Pothier noted that a small group of ministers are doing genuinely good work. He cited finance minister Pravin Gordhan, health minister Aaron Motsoaldi, and minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel as being among those who are trying to make a difference. Looking to this year’s elections, which may take place in June, Mr Pothier predicted that if the ANC wins above 60% of the national vote and retains control of Gauteng, the party will see “no incentive to change the way they are doing things”. “There will be more jobs for pals, incompetent people appointed to key jobs and politically pliable people in important areas,” he said. As a result, the country will see more social delivery protests because there will be no change in delivery. Should this continue, Mr Pothier warned, the National Development Plan, ”a promising project”, will eventually fade away.
onversely, should national support drop below 60% and should the ANC lose an outright majority in Gauteng to a coalition of opposition parties, and something similar take place in the Northern Cape, then the ANC will “have to change”. Should the party perform poorly, by its standards, in the 2014 election, Mr Zuma may be recalled from the presidency. Mr Pothier said there are already future candidates lining up to take the presidency. “While there is an attempt to pin dishonour Cyril Ramaphosa—namely Marikana—he is free of scandal. He is also politically intelligent. He could be a first-class president and a uniting figure.” Other names being mentioned within the ANC and its alliance parties include Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, currently chairperson of the African Union, and ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. Mr Pothier said Gauteng will prove interesting in the election as the Democratic Alliance (DA), which currently governs only in the Western Cape, believes it has a chance of winning South Africa’s richest province. While the DA has not joined five other opposition parties in a coalition called the Continued on page 2
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The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
Youth inspired to wait BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
OUTH around the country have been inspired to act appropriately by American prolife and motivational speakers Monica Kelsey and Pam Stenzel. Ms Stenzel is known for the way she tackles issues of sex with candour, insight and humour where she challenges young people to get the “abstinence advantage”. Ms Stenzel was born to a 15-year-old mother who had been raped. But instead of having an abortion, the young girl decided to place the child with an adoptive family. “My life isn’t worth any less than yours just because of how I was conceived. I do not believe that I deserved the death penalty because of the crime of my father,” said Ms Stenzel. “I believe that every child is wanted by someone, and I believe that God in his mercy had a plan for me.” The pro-life speaker said her existence does not justify rape. “Rape is still a horrifying violation of another human being. What we can say very clearly though is that the behaviour was wrong but the child is a gift from God, created in his image.” Today, Ms Stenzel travels the world motivating the youth as well as counselling women in pregnancy crises. But beyond pregnancy, there are other hazards with having sex. “I realised there are a lot of youth making decisions about sex who have no idea what the consequences of their decisions will be. I am here in South Africa so that none of you will ever again be able to say to a doctor, a counsellor, or to your future husband or wife: ‘Nobody told me. I didn’t know’,” Ms Stenzel told her audience. Joining her on the South African tour was Monica Kelsey, who was also conceived in rape. Ms Kelsey is
Radio Veritas’ Khanya Leseli and Nhlanhla Mdlalose of Don Bosco Youth Centre are seen with Pam Stenzel. a pro-life motivational speaker as well as an advocate for volunteering at pregnancy crisis centres. She says she is on the “front lines to save unborn boys and girls in danger of losing their lives to abortion”. Ms Kelsey learnt of the circumstances of her conception only at age 37. Her birth mother was raped and became pregnant at 17 years old. The pro-life speaker said it took a long time to come to terms with the fact that her birth father was a rapist. “I stopped wrestling with the ‘why’ and focused on the ‘how’. I asked: How can I take this gift of life that I’ve been given and make a difference?” Today she encourages youth around the world to follow God’s path for their lives. “My story reveals that all life has purpose and everyone is on this earth for a reason.” Speaking at a number of pregnancy crisis homes and youth centres around the country, the pair told local youth to abstain. “There is no easy way out of pregnancy. Abortion is painful, destructive, and devastating,” said Ms Stenzel. “Abortion isn’t like going to the dentist and having a tooth pulled. I have counselled hundreds of women—five, ten, fifteen years
after they had an abortion—who are still hurting physically, psychologically, and above all, spiritually.” The prolife speaker said parenting a child was also a difficult choice. “Eight out of ten single teenage girls who choose to parent their children will live below the poverty level for at least ten years. Most stay there the rest of their lives. Nine out of ten will never attend university. These are girls who had goals, plans, things they might have liked to do with their lives after high school that they didn’t get the chance to do because of their rash choice to have sex.” But it’s not just the girls that face consequences. Lawmakers are now holding young men in America responsible for having sex and getting a girl pregnant. The same could be true in South Africa soon. In addition to the possibility of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases are rampant. “Today, in the next 24 hours, 14 000 teenagers will contract a sexually transmitted disease. And that’s just teenagers in America,” said Ms Kelsey. South African youth are at a far higher risk of contracting HIV along with other STDs that can result in sterilisation. “At first, abstinence may sound negative, but it’s a very positive choice that brings you freedom and peace of mind,” said Ms Stenzel. “Sex is not a game. But if you treat it like a game, it can have very harmful, long-term consequences. Sex was meant to be more than just a biological act,” she said. “God meant sex to be a one-flesh experience—the bonding of two people physically, emotionally, and spiritually for life. When you abuse sex it doesn’t just damage your body, it damages you, and it damages your partner.”
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Programmes like “Dream to Be” from Salesian Life Choices are able to continue thanks to support from the local community during a recent campaign to raise funds. The youth pictured have just earned certificates as peer educators, “an HIV prevention intervention with a difference”.
Campaign saves NGO BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
HILE not all targets were met through the You Decide campaign, Salesian Life Choices, the organisation that has been changing lives for the past eight years in Cape Town’s poorest communities, will be able to continue its work in 2014 thanks to increased brand awareness and grants through the campaign. You Decide was a 21-day long campaign aimed at raising the necessary funds to keep the NGO running. “For 21 consecutive days the Life Choices team introduced themselves to Cape Town. A team took to the streets with music and dance, meeting locals and spreading the word, while another team took on the challenge of formal groups. Parishes, schools, clubs and workplaces were just some of the key places that the You Decide campaign was introduced,” said Innocent Masayira, Life Choice’s communications and sustainability officer. “Our social media and marketing team ensured that no stone was left unturned, hitting local news and radio,” said Mr Masayira, adding that within the short space of time, the group established a Twitter following of more than 400 and attained 3 600 “likes” on Facebook as well as distributing 50 000 pamphlets and advertisements on local television. The campaign ended with a concert held at the V&A Waterfront fea-
turing the bands Black South Easter and Soul Housing Projects. “On this day, Salesian Life Choices celebrated the closing of the campaign and announced Cape Town’s decision to keep Life Choices going,” Mr Masayira said. “Through the campaign Salesian Life Choices was able to raise R171 070 and enhance its visibility as a brand. Many people also committed to get involved with the organisation in the new year,” he told The Southern Cross. The amount raised was not enough to sustain the programme, but during the campaign, the organisation was informed that several proposals that had been submitted in the past had been successful. “This means that Salesian Life Choices will be able to survive if it cuts down its services,” said Sofia Neves, managing director of Life Choices. “As a result we will undergo a reconstruction and resume work in 2014 on a smaller scale.” The director said the organisation was grateful for the support shown. “Capetonians assisted Life Choices to endure the crisis with joy and as a learning experience.” The NGO works in the areas of health, household sustainability, education and leadership skills. n For more information on the project visit www.lifechoices.co.za, “Salesian Life Choices” on Facebook or follow @LC_YouDecide on Twitter.
This will be SA’s 2014 Continued from page 1 Collective for Democracy—which comprises the Congress of the People, African Christian Democratic Party, Freedom Front-Plus, Inkatha Freedom Party and the United Christian Democratic Party—it is still possible that it will be pressured to form a coalition to oust the ANC from Gauteng. Mr Pothier said the other opposition parties are still very much in launch phase. “Is the new black middle class emotionally prepared to leave the ANC—to either switch their vote or to not vote at all?” he asked. Currently, there is very little campaigning going on, with no significant voices joining either Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang or Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters. “All these parties are currently doing is criticising the government; we can all do that,” Mr Pothier said.
The CPLO commentator said while there is no major legislation expected to come under the spotlight in 2014, the economy will become more of a problem. “We will see an increase in unemployment and a lack of economic growth. We currently have it under control, but with the rand getting weaker and weaker, we will see an increase in inflation,” he said. “We should be exporting like mad at the moment; instead we are striking. There is going to be economic implosion in our future.” Mr Pothier said there is a dire need for far-sighted leadership to get business and unions in line. “We need strong effective leadership to kick butt if we’re going to solve our economic issues. Even if President Zuma wasn’t corrupt and self-serving, he doesn’t have the grasp to make the change.”
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The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
Nun asks: Should founder be canonised? BY PORTIA MTHEMBU
HILE Nano Nagle’s declaration as venerable has brought much joy to many Presentation Sisters across the world, some are concerned about the costs of the sainthood cause for their Irish founder. A Cape Town-based Presentation Sister explained these reservations about the expenses for the cause of Nagle (1718-84), who was declared venerable on October 31. “We are absolutely delighted at the thought of our Nano having only two more stages to go through before being beatified,” said Sr Sue McGregor, a Presentation Sister from Zambia. “However, a number of years ago when I was at a general chapter there were some serious questions about the pros and cons of sainthood in the institutional
Church when we already knew that for us, Nano is a saint, without all the expense required.” Sr McGregor said Nano, nicknamed Lady of the Lantern, was a very special person. “In fact, a few years back, the Irish people declared her ‘the woman of the millennium’. She saw a need and under difficult circumstances, she did something about it.” Born in 1718 into a wealthy family, Nano Nagle lived during the Irish Penal Laws era but, given her family’s position, was sent to study in an Irish community that lived in Paris. When she returned to Ireland, she felt disheartened by the poverty of the Irish, who were denied economic, political, social and educational rights, and sought a way to help them. In 1754 she opened her first school where she taught reading,
Situated at her birthplace in Ballygriffen, Ireland, is a statue of the venerable Nano Nagle, Lady of the Lantern. writing and the Catholic faith. Close to her death she established the Sisters of Presentation, a Catholic religious congregation
Little Eden reflects on challenges
people who sell a handful of tomatoes per day and think that they have sold a lot for the day,” Sr McGregor said. “A lot of people rely on us for help but we want to empower them so that they may look after themselves,” she said. “We are also concerned about our own safety. Some of us have to work in conflict-ridden countries such as Slovakia and Palestine.” While some Presentation Sisters question the cost of the cause, they do not seek to stop the process, Sr McGregor said. “To many, the process is of cultural importance. People have always held the belief that if they pray to a saint, divine intervention will answer their prayers. I am just asking what the point of the process is when we all acknowledge that Nano is a saint already.”
Ursulines Ursulines of of the theBlessed Blessed Virgin Virgin Mary Mary We VirginMary, Mary, Weare arethe theUrsulines Ursulines of of the the Blessed Blessed Virgin called througheducation educationofofgirls, girls, calledto toserve serveChrist Christ through women and servants, pastoral and social work. women and servants, pastoral and social work. Do you feel God’s call? Join us. Do you feel God’s call? Join us.
BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
Contact Vocation directress: Ursuline Sisters PO Box 36 Ngqeleni 5140 Cell: 072 958 2111
ITTLE Eden, the Johannesburg home to 300 intellectually disabled children and adults, has had yet another challenging year, but thanks to the support of the local and Catholic community has been able to provide care for the residents for 46 years. Most of the residents at the Edenvale-based home were previously abandoned or from indigent families relying heavily on financial support from the community. The residents, aged three to 53, with an average mental age of one year, require unconditional love and quality care in order to reach their full potential, said the home’s Nichollette Muthige and “every contribution helps make a difference”. 2014 is set to follow in the footsteps of last year’s fundraising efforts. The annual fête held in March at the Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home was a day that not only raised funds which went directly to the care of the residents, but was also a day out for the residents to enjoy. Similarly, the annual family fun-day held every September was an opportunity for members of the community to spend time with the residents while enjoying music, dance, food, art and a 5km walk. “Residents are constantly encouraged to keep active as this has a big impact on their development,” said Ms Muthige. The home regularly organises sports days and outdoor events. The likes of the Christmas concert is another way of getting friends and family of the residents to spend time with those at Little Eden and to give the residents an opportunity to share the skills they have gained during the year through the various therapies and stimulation activities in which they participate. Ms Muthige said these have proved to be a great success and will certainly continue in the future. Another exciting development has been the extension of day rooms at the Elvira Rota Village, thanks to a donation from the embassy of Japan. The Bapsfontein home has been undergoing a much-needed renovation of two rooms. “The need for increased space became inevitable with our residents growing older and requiring appropriate facilities to move around in wheelchairs,” said Ms Muthige. The buildings will be blessed and officially opened later this month. The home, which is run by more than 250 dedicated staff members, welcomes fundraising initiatives such as the first two-hour Zumbathon work-out session where a local fitness group raised money for the exercise they completed. Since the home’s crops were destroyed in a late 2013 hailstorm, it is ever-more reliant on the generosity of the community. From financial donations to second-hand goods and clothing the home can sell in its shop, “we have to offer a big thank you to our surrounding community,” said Ms Muthige. n For more information on the developments of the home, visit www.littleeden.org.za
which today numbers more than 2 000 women across the world, sharing Nano’s charisma wherever they go. Sr McGregor said that by proclaiming Nano as venerable “a miracle attributed to her intercession with God is still needed before she can be beatified”. A lot of funds are needed to get professional opinions from experts in various fields so that the miracle can be documented and authenticated. “Some of us are concerned about whether it is really necessary that the process continue,” she said. “Some sisters are working in very disadvantaged areas of the world and we would much rather see the money spent on empowering disadvantaged people.” The sister spoke of the poor who in many cases live off almost nothing. “In Zambia I have come across
Little Eden, the Edenvale-based home for the intellectually disabled, relies on community support to keep residents and carers going.
Good Shepherd Sisters
Box 212 Libode 5160 Contact Vocation directress: Ursuline SistersTel: Mount 047 Nicholas 555 0018
PO Box 212 Libode, 5160, E Cape Tel 047 555 0018 Cell: 072 437 4244 or 078 354 2440
Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St Paul to Greece & Turkey led by Mgr Barnard McAleer 9-22 June 2014
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
led by Fr Jerome Nyathi, 23 June-03 July 2014 We are an International Congregation of Sisters called to live the Mission of Reconciliation in the Spirit of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
“ONE PERSON IS OF MORE VALUE THAN A WHOLE WORLD.” The motto of the Good Shepherd Sisters.
Are you interested in joining us in our Mission As A Sister, A Lay Partner, A Prayer Partner Or a Benefactor?
You can reach us: Vocation Animator (27) 82 968 8493 /(27) 72 265 0735 Congregational website: www.buonpastoreint.org
Pilgrimage to the Shrines of Europe
visiting Israel, Greece, Medjugorje, Italy, Lourdes, Fatima and Santiago de Compostela led by Fr Collin Bowes, 6-30 September 2014
Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving to Italy & Medjugorje led by Fr Maselwane, 7-20 September 2014
Pilgrimage to Lourdes,Nevers,Liseux and Ars
led by Fr Craigh Laubscher, 14-23 September 2014
Pilgrimage to Fatima, Santiago de Compostela & Lourdes, Paris & Nevers
led by Fr Cletus Mtshali, 28 September-11 October 2014
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The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
What 2014 has in store for Pope Francis BY FRANCIS X ROCCA
FTER a year that included the historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and a series of celebrated innovations by Pope Francis, it is hard to imagine 2014 at the Vatican could be nearly as eventful. Of course, the biggest stories are likely to be those that come by surprise, but in the meantime, here are developments bound to loom large in Vatican news over the coming year: New cardinals: Pope Francis is scheduled to create new cardinals on February 22. By that time, no more than 106 members of the College of Cardinals will be under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. Under rules established by Pope Paul VI, the college should not have more than 120 such members, though subsequent popes have occasionally exceeded that number. So Pope Francis can be expected to name at least 14 new cardinal electors. The election of the first Latin American pope has raised expectations of greater geographical diversity among cardinal electors, so the new slate might prove relatively heavy on names from statistically
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underrepresented regions, especially Latin America and Africa. Vatican reform: The eight-member Council of Cardinals that Pope Francis formed to advise him on governance of the universal Church and reform of the Vatican bureaucracy has already joined him for two rounds of meetings at the Vatican and will do so again in February. The body is working on the first major overhaul of the Roman curia, the Church’s central administration at the Vatican, since 1988. Although the council has not announced a timeline for its work, Pope Francis has established a record of acting fast; in December, he approved an idea for an international commission on the sexual abuse of children just one day after the council proposed it. So few will be surprised if the council gives him a draft of an apostolic constitution reorganising the curia before the end of 2014. Canonisation of two popes: The double canonisation ceremony of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, scheduled for April 27, is almost certain to draw crowds larger than the more than 1 million who attended the latter’s beatification in May 2011. By choosing to declare the sanc-
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where the retired pope lives, on December 23. Last year we previewed Pope Benedict’s 2013, not knowing that a few weeks later he would suddenly resign the papacy. (Photo: L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters) tity of both men on the same day, Pope Francis may be trying to emphasise fundamental continuities between two popes widely seen as respectively liberal and conservative, especially with regard to reforms ushered in by the Second Vatican Council.
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John XXIII opened the council in 1962, and John Paul II attended all four sessions as a bishop. The ceremony could thus serve as an occasion for Pope Francis to expound on his own understanding of Vatican II and its legacy for the Church. Papal trip to the Holy Land: The Vatican has yet to announce dates or an itinerary for an expected papal visit to the Holy Land but has not denied recent reports that it will take place in late May and last three days, with stops in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Pope Francis has said a Holy Land visit would include a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, considered first
Bishop: Violence won’t stop Egypt referendum BY JAMES MARTONE
IOLENCE will not keep Egypt from going ahead with its planned referendum on a new constitution, said Coptic Catholic Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina of Giza. “These explosions will not prevent the mass mobilisation for the referendum on the constitution. On the contrary, they increase our determination...to follow through with advancing the nation,” Bishop Mina told the Egyptian online newspaper Al Youm Al Sabea. Egypt has witnessed several attacks since the military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July and the ensuing crackdown on Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which the interim government labelled as a terrorist group on December 25. Bishop Mina said “the terrorist attacks” were taking a toll on Egypt’s civilians. The bishop was one of 50 people on a national assembly tasked with producing a draft for a new
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among equals by Orthodox bishops. The trip would be Pope Francis’ second outside of Italy, following his visit to Brazil in July 2013, and the first planned during his pontificate. The destination would be fitting for a pope whose relations with Jews have been exceptionally warm and who has made peace in the Middle East a priority of his geopolitical agenda. While a three-day papal visit would be unusually brief for such a prominent destination, it would be appropriate for Pope Francis, who has a heavy agenda of reform at home and the media flair to reach the world without leaving the Vatican. Divorced and remarried Catholics: An extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops will meet at the Vatican for two weeks in October to discuss the “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”. Pope Francis has indicated topics of discussion at the synod will include Church law governing marriage annulments and the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion—problems he has said exemplify a general need for mercy in the Church today. In addition to speculation about possible changes in Church practice in those areas, the synod has drawn attention with a preparatory questionnaire sent to the world’s bishops, which asks about the promotion and acceptance of Catholic teachings on such controversial topics as premarital cohabitation, same-sex unions and contraception.—CNS
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constitution, which the group finished in early December. The draft will be put to a nationwide referendum on January 14 and 15. “The new generation grew up with no democracy and with corruption, selfishness, egotism and theft, where the clever takes advantage of his peers. All the morals that disappeared will take a long time to return, not in a year, or ten, but it can take 30 or 40 years,” Bishop Mina told Catholic News Service. He said it would take sustained improvements in education, increased democracy and a general “respect in society for all Egyptians,” regardless of creed, in order for the predominantly Muslim country to rebuild and prosper, and that the new constitution could set the tone for this to happen, if “properly implemented.” The new draft constitution is meant to replace one passed by Morsi and paves the way for new parliamentary and presidential elections.—CNS
The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
Christianity helps women rise from poverty, says economist BY KERRI LENARTOWICK
Latin-rite Patriarch Faoud Twal of Jerusalem celebrates Christmas Mass at St Catherine church, adjacent to the church of the Nativity, the traditional site of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, West Bank. According to Patriarch Twal, Pope Francis will visit the Holy Land and Jordan in May. The papal trip will probably take place a week after The Southern Cross’ pilgrims with Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town and Bishop Dabula Mpako of Queenstown visit the Holy Land. The pilgrims will also attend a papal audience two days before Pope Francis is likely to depart for the Holy Land. (Photo: Debbie Hill/CNS)
Patriarch: Pope will visit Holy Land in May BY CINDY WOODEN
ATIN-RITE Patriarch Faoud Twal of Jerusalem has told reporters he expected to host Pope Francis on a visit to the Holy Land in May. Listing “upcoming events for next year”, Patriarch Twal began with “the pope’s visit to the Holy Land planned for next May, first in Jordan, then in Israel-Palestine”. The patriarch did not give specific dates for the trip. Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ has told reporters that it would be up to Pope Francis to decide when to announce the trip’s dates, although he confirmed a Vatican advance team had already visited the Holy Land. Israeli newspapers have reported a May 24 papal flight to Amman, Jordan, and a May 25-26 visit to Jerusalem and to Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories. Pope Francis had told reporters in July that he hoped to travel to Jerusalem to fulfil a plan proposed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. The Orthodox patriarch suggested they meet in Jerusalem in 2014 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s meeting with Patriarch Athenagoras, a meeting that set the stage for CatholicOrthodox reconciliation and dialogue.
Speaking to reporters about the Holy Land in general, the Latin-rite patriarch said he met Pope Francis on the day of the pontiff’s March 19, 2013 installation and several times since then. “He cares about the Holy Land and the Middle East. His statements clearly express that the Holy See maintains a consistent interest [in] our region,” the patriarch said. It is from Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, “in the midst of conflict and violence tearing our Middle East apart, that the mystery of Christmas gently rises and spreads throughout the world”, Patriarch Twal said. While the patriarch insisted that the entire Middle East would not be at peace until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is settled, he also urged special prayers and assistance for the people of Syria and for the many foreign workers from the Philippines who are suffering far from home because their families were affected by the deadly typhoon in November. “The situation in the Middle East is becoming more complex and more dramatic,” he said. “The instability affects everyone, but especially our faithful”, the Christian community which now makes up only 2% of the Holy Land, “who are tempted to emigrate,” the patriarch said.—CNS
RESEARCHER at the Jesuit Georgetown University in Washington has found that impoverished women in India are more likely to improve their economic circumstances after converting to Christianity. “Conversion actually helps launch women on a virtuous circle. A woman feels better, she’s part of an active faith community, she works more, she earns more money: the extra money she earns and saves encourages her to earn more and save more and plan and invest in the future,” said Rebecca Samuel Shah, research fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Ms Shah and her team studied 300 women who lived in a Dalit slum community over the course of three years. When they began their research, they did not know that 23% of the women being interviewed were actually converts to Christianity. Dalits are considered the “outcasts” of India’s rigid caste system, and are also known by the pejorative “untouchables”. “One is actually born a Dalit, you cannot leave a Dalit status. You’re born and you live and you die a Dalit,” Ms Shah explained. “Dalits are employed in the some of the worst jobs…they scavenge, they sweep, they’re tanners. They do the smelliest, dirtiest work, and therefore they ‘pollute’...they’re ‘untouchables’,” she said. “Dalits are not allowed to go near a [Hindu] temple, or touch a religious object that is used in worship.” Because “they don’t want to live on the margins” of society, “they are converting to Christianity”, she noted. Ms Shah’s study yielded some surprising results about the impact of Christian conversion on the lives of Dalit women in “a very violent urban slum”. The majority of Hindu, Muslim and Christian Dalit women interviewed were illiterate. Many belong to a microfinance programme
which gives them access to loans which they then use towards their children’s education or to run a small business. The first “unexpected pattern” Ms Shah encountered was in housing. “The converts converted their loans to purchasing houses, and turned dead capital into resources to generate additional capital.” Housing is an exceptionally important issue because “these people live in a slum community. It’s a transient community, they’re originally migrant workers, they had de facto rights to the property, but did not have legally enforceable title,” said Ms Shah.
he impact of home ownership is crucial, since “by being able to own a house, these poor women were able to get bank loans, commercial loans, which they didn’t have access to before that. When you have a house you can get a loan at 3%, instead of from a money lender at 18%. So having a house is a very important investment in your future, so you can have access to very affordable credit.” The second “dramatic” finding
in Ms Shah’s study concerned domestic violence. A national family health survey in India in 2005/06 indicated that a woman’s religion was an important indicator of whether or not she would seek help. “Only 24% of Hindu women sought help, and 22% of Muslim women, but 32% of Christian women sought help,” she noted. She pointed to two key factors in the higher reporting of abuse. “These women are very closely involved, very actively involved, in their faith community. When they arrive in their weekly prayer meetings and they’ve got a gash across their face, or they’re lacking a few teeth, they get noticed.” Furthermore, “pastors that are usually male [repeatedly] visit the homes...so at some point, the husband who’s beating up his wife is shamed into stopping beating his wife.” This indicates a “very interesting connection” between home ownership and seeking help for domestic abuse, “because many of those women literally open the doors and Continued on page 11
Pope’s morning Masses now open to Rome parishioners BY FRANCIS X ROCCA
RDINARY members of parishes in Rome will be able to attend Pope Francis’ private morning Masses in 2014. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the cardinal-vicar of Rome— the pope is the eternal city’s bishop—would tell local pastors how to apply on behalf of their parishioners beginning in January, according to a report by Vatican Radio. The pope celebrates Mass every morning in the Vatican guesthouse Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives. Excerpts
from his short, off-the-cuff homilies there have attracted worldwide attention for their frank, spontaneous style and have occasionally made news with remarks on such controversial topics as the salvation of atheists and the credibility of purported Marian apparitions. Most of Pope Francis’ morning congregations so far have consisted of Vatican employees. The guesthouse chapel was constructed to accommodate 120 cardinal electors and a few attendants during a papal conclave. Fr Lombardi said Rome parishioners would probably be admitted in groups of 25 at a time.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Deepening relationship with Christ
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
Our prayers for 2014
HIS year, South Africans will go to the polls to elect a new parliament. In the past, fears of election violence proved to be unfounded. However, there is much discontent and division within and between political alliances, factions and parties, as the jeering of President Jacob Zuma at the memorial for Nelson Mandela underlined. Severe failures in service delivery, anger over corruption, reckless polemical rhetoric, grievances informed by personality cults, splintering of alliances, and an emboldened opposition are among the sparks which could ignite conflict. We pray that South Africans will continue to express their democratic voice robustly, but without resorting to acts of violence. We also pray that the Zumaled government, which is certain of re-election, will exhibit greater integrity and wisdom than it has over the past five turbulent years. We give thanks to God for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who has within just a few months since his election in March revitalised the Church and opened the ears of those who did not want to hear its voice. We pray that Pope Francis will remain strong, in his health and in his difficult task of leading the Church, especially as he leads the overdue reforms in Church governance. We also pray that the world will take to heart the call of successive popes for an economic model which places people and their responsibility of good stewardship of the earth above greed and profits. May we amplify Pope Francis’ appeal: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor” (Evangelii Gaudium, 205). In April, just after Easter, the bishops of Southern Africa will travel to Rome on their ad limina visit to report to the pope and the Holy See about the life of the Church in our region. We pray that the visit will be fruitful as the bishops relate the joys and pains, and the hopes and fears, of Southern Africa’s Catholics. Before that, in late January, the bishops will gather in Swaziland to celebrate the 100th an-
The Editor reserves the right to shorten or edit published letters. Letters below 300 words receive preference. Pseudonyms are acceptable only under special circumstances and at the Editor’s discretion. Name and address of the writer must be supplied. No anonymous letter will be considered.
niversary of that country’s Catholic mission and witness the installation of Bishop José Luis Ponce de León as head of Manzini diocese. We pray for Swaziland’s new bishop, as we do for all our bishops, that in his immense task he will find joy and strength. We also pray that the monarchy which rules Swaziland will come to tolerate and accommodate opposition to its unaccountable ways of governance. Even as economic growth and democratic principles are taking ever firmer roots in many regions throughout Africa, and fragile peace is being built in many wartorn regions, the potential for indescribable misery brought on by political conflict is ever-present. In 2013 civil war devastated the Central African Republic; currently Southern Sudan is on the edge. We pray that Africa will solve these conflicts, and others like them, and that the world not turn a blind eye to the suffering on this continent. There seems no resolution in sight in Syria’s civil war, with neither the Assad regime nor the mostly Islamic rebels holding the promise for a better future. We pray that nonetheless peace will return to the troubled land, and that its conflict will not infect other countries in the region. It is widely speculated that 2014 will see the presentation of a proposed peace deal between Israel and Palestinians. The region will also be visited by Pope Francis, who doubtless will make fervent pleas for justice and a peace. We pray that this year will bring an equitable resolution to the troubles in the lands of Christ, one which gives Israel the security its people crave and which, crucially, satisfies the legitimate Palestinian land claims, especially of land stolen from them in the West Bank over the past couple of decades by the construction of illegal settlements. In our prayers, we again keep in mind the Christians of the Holy Land, most of them Palestinians, that they may live in true liberty. And finally, we pray that the readers, associates, pilgrims, friends and supporters of The Southern Cross may have a blessed and peaceful 2014.
ATHER BONAVENTURE Hinwood’s letter on the Annunciation being central to Christmas (December 25) certainly brings home how the Church’s carefully designed liturgical year richly facilitates Catholics’ celebration of the central mystery of our faith: Jesus Christ. Sunday by Sunday, day by day, whenever we celebrate Mass and the Divine Office, our attention is keenly focused on a particular aspect of who Christ is and what he should mean in our lives.
God bless Africa
IGERIAN professor of moral theology PI Odozor has written that in many traditional African societies, ubuntu was often limited to someone from one’s own family, clan or ethnic group. Human rights were granted on the basis of kinship, with no culture of equal human rights or recognition of one’s humanity as a child of God (Tablet, July 5, 2008). He also said many African rulers believe and act as if they are the sole custodians of resources and not accountable to anyone. Democracy is not well understood. Today, ubuntu has even less value—everything is about “me and myself”. The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) (The Southern Cross, May 1, 2013) noted improvements but “fifty years after independence, many African economies remain weak [and] leaders ensure their personal material comfort is secure, against the common good of their societies”. We have crime, corruption, violence, wars and evils of all kinds. Will South Africa—leader of the African Union and seeking further power at the UN and ICC, for example, but which seems to have lost its moral compass—lead Africa downhill? What can we do? Prayer is seldom mentioned in the many articles we see and hear—we never pray for Africa. Yet prayer should be our priority, as it was with Jesus. Shouldn’t we be seeking God’s help for Africa? We profess belief in the communion of saints—let us pray the rosary and ask Mary’s intercession, not just as patroness of South Africa, but as “mother of Africa” and ask all the saints of Africa to pray for us, as well as the holy souls who have died in Africa. We can ask St Francis of Assisi, who achieved peace between Crusaders and Islam at Damietta (Damyãs) in Africa, to help us love our neighbours and the poor, and St Michael and the the angels to de-
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I always feel sad when I hear former Catholics say that they have joined other churches because they never found Jesus in the Catholic Church. Surely, if our liturgy is meaningfully and correctly celebrated, it should enable one to deepen one’s personal relationship with Christ. As a former student of Fr Bonaventure at St John Vianney Seminary in the 1960s, may I dare mention another mystery of which the Christmas/Epiphany season reminds us? It is that of creation.
fend Africa aginst crime and evil. For prayer leaflets, SMS your name and address to 083 544 8449. Africa needs prayer—let us pray! Athaly Jenkinson, East London
ERE is a personal experience to add to the stories of Nelson Mandela and the Catholic Church in South Africa (December 18). A few days after the “Seven Days War” in March 1990 in the Greater Pietermaritzburg area, Mr Mandela came to assess the situation. This included the township of Mpophomeni near Howick. A group had tried to burn down the Catholic church there but only slightly damaged the altar, ambo and tabernacle. With Annette St Amour IHM who was a pastoral minister in the parish (we were about to move into the new parish house but had been delayed because of the conflict), I came to the church to see the damage and to meet Mr Mandela. He walked through the church and then spoke to a small group of us, thanking the Catholic Church for all it had done against apartheid. I am sure he was thinking of Archbishop Denis Hurley’s early and consistent opposition to apartheid. Then he shook our hands. A great Madiba moment for me! Sue Rakoczy IHM, Cedara, KZN Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 021 465-3850
Whenever I enjoy the privilege of baptising a young child I can never but stand in awe of its being a unique expression of the pinnacle of God’s creation. On such an occasion, it is only natural to ask the same question that was posed regarding St John the Baptist: “What will this child turn out to be?” (Lk 1:66). Of course, when gazing at the babe of Bethlehem we are privileged to know already what he turned out to be: our Lord and Saviour whom we can meet and get to know more fully as we move through the liturgical calendar year by year. Fr Kevin Reynolds, Pretoria
Rosary as fashion
INCE visiting a jewellery store recently I have had a burning question on my mind. Since when has the Holy Rosary become a fashion accessory? I nearly fell on my back when my daughter asked to see some crucifixes as she wanted to buy one for my grandson. The saleslady showed her some crucifixes, and when my daughter told her they were not what she actually wanted the lady said she can show us some rosaries. They were beautiful silver ones. I just feel that people who don't know what the rosary is or what it stands for should not be wearing them around their necks. Some people seem to think they are good luck charms. Surely the Church can do something about this. If other religions can kick up a stink about pictures depicting their gods and prophets, then surely we can kick up a stink about the rosary being a fashion accessory. I think it is wrong. What do other readers feel about this? Bernie Viljoen, Bloemfontein
Back page wins
FULLY agree with Con E Petersen (December 4) regarding the pleasure derived from the last page of The Southern Cross. However, I would include the crossword which has maintained a consistent high standard over the last two decades and to which I have become addicted. Congratulations to the crossword writer. Michelle de Rosnay, Cape Town
SHORT while ago I ordered a copy from you of the book Moerdyk Files by, naturally, Chris Moerdyk. I found myself laughing aloud at almost every chapter , including the foreword by you, Mr Editor. I can highly recommend the book to all of your readers. Keith Gilchrist, Johannesburg
THE JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME!
Rosebank Jhb Parish Pilgrimage to Holy Land • Jordan 21 - 30 April Led by Fr Lucas Nyathi
Kokstad Diocesan Pilgrimage to Holy Land • Jordan • Cairo
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Dominican Pilgrimage to Holy Land • Rome
31 Aug to 11 Sept Led by Fr Emil Blaser OP
Fatima • Lourdes • Paris • Avila 18 - 28 Sept Led by Fr Modisa Sekao
Holy Land • Jordan • Cairo
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PERSPECTIVES Phyllis Zagano
Point of View
Why don’t we see pics of the pope with women?
RANCIS. Folks can’t get enough of him. He’s on the cover of Time and The New Yorker. But he’s still a 77-year-old Latin American male. Will he do anything for the women of the Church and of the world? He’s been photographed with girls and with old women, yet he can’t seem to get his picture taken with female adults, except those whose husbands have earned two tickets to his presence. Why? Francis quite obviously sees the image of Christ in every person. He has complained that everything he hears about women is tainted by an “ideology of machismo”. He even said there should be a more incisive female presence in the Church. Yet he seems hamstrung by the machismo he complains about. What’s going on? I’m not so sure it’s all his fault. First off, no matter what Francis says or does, the Vatican is not a female-friendly place. In an era of images, the photos tell the story. When the pope celebrates Mass in the Domus Sanctae Martae, a barrier reef of clerics stands between him and any woman. When he sends minions to invite the poor to his birthday breakfast, they bring back four homeless men. There are precious few photos of Francis with adult women. Weeks ago, the pope’s Jesuit spokesman said the idea of women cardinals was “nonsense”. Now, in an interview last month, the pope has agreed, calling women cardinals “una battuta”— a joke. Is he skating on thin Italian ice?
rancis is unquestionably the world’s pastor. Christians of every stripe are agog at his embodiment of the Gospel message. But he lives and works in an all-male society with all-male managers of the billion-person enterprise of the Catholic Church. That he is of Italian descent and from Argentina may not help. Or might it? American feminism, where it takes a sharp left turn, often becomes harsh and anti-male—almost masculine—the kind of “machismo in skirts” the pope complained about. But, as liberal philosopher Camille Paglia points out, in many other countries, in “France, Italy, Spain, Latin America and Brazil...professional women seem to have found a formula for asserting power and authority in the workplace while still projecting sexual allure and even glamour”. Which might be the problem. I think Francis can accept professional women. But can the celibate male organisation he heads deal on an equal basis with women who assert power and authority in the workplace, not to mention sexual allure and glamour? Think not? Then that might be how the concept of women cardinals became “a joke”. Science tells us women in red are very sexy, and in Italy, a woman in red is often considered vulgar. Has the idea of a woman cardinal been overrun by low-level humour, developed to forestall real reform of the curia and of the Church? Francis dismissed women cardinals, saying women should be valued and not “clericalised”. I’m not so sure he was complaining about women cardinals so much as he was complaining about clericalism. The next day, clericalism turned up in his daily homily. He said a lack of prophecy in the Church creates an emptiness filled by clericalism. The lace and the cappa magna may be on the way out, but clericalism may still be on the trail of prophecy. In his August interview and in his apostolic exhortation, Francis said women must have a “more incisive presence in the Church”. But take a look at the English translation of the August interview on the Vatican website. The crucial sentence is missing. It seems the Vatican posted the original America magazine translation, which dropped Francis’ call for women’s “more incisive presence in the Church” and which now in book form uses the milder “stronger presence” for women in the Church. There are two very important points here: firstly, the Vatican has posted an incomplete translation, and secondly, nobody seems to notice or care. Or maybe they have noticed and maybe they do care. I still think Francis is the good guy in this scenario. But he cannot control everything, and image management can be a blood sport. n Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, and author of several books in Catholic studies.
The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
Hope in a time of desolation A LLOW me to share an experience that happened just after the election of Pope Francis. The pope was celebrating a simple morning Mass with those cardinals who had remained at the Santa Marta guesthouse to await the Inauguration Mass on the feast of St Joseph, March 19. The readings were from Wisdom 2 and John 7, and the theme was the ongoing struggle between good and evil men in general, between Jesus and his enemies in particular. Taking his cue from the readings, Pope Francis crafted his homily around the experience of desolation that marked this period in Jesus’ life. Alone, abandoned, weak and vulnerable, Jesus entered such a deep period of desolation that he was tempted to believe that even God had abandoned him! “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Pope Francis then applied this reflection to the experiences which the Church as a whole, but also particular communities or individuals, might be going through. The answer he said was not to fight the battle alone, but rather to join Jesus where he was, because the effort to be one with him would give him the space and time to share his burden with us, and take ours upon himself. What brought this experience to mind was last month’s Advent season. The Scripture readings used in the Prayer of the Church and the Holy Mass during Advent continued the reflection (which began in the last Sundays of the year) on the fact that each of us is now a year nearer to that fateful day when we will be called to experience the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell. What is particularly interesting is that this reflection took place at the time when we celebrated the end of the Year of Faith and began the Year of the Family. Because of the recent announcement by Pope Francis of his decision to convene in
October 2014 an Extraordinary Session of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “Pastoral Challenges facing the Family in the Context of Evangelisation”, it has become necessary to consider all important aspects of the family and family life. Initial responses to the proposed theme, even by the members of the council of the Synod of Bishops, painted a very bleak picture of the state of the family, not just in terms of its physical health but even more its spiritual health. Therefore, right from the beginning, the focus shifted from a) the sociological and psychological causes of the malaise affecting the family, to b) how the Church could and should use its spiritual treasury—the sacraments to bring healing and well-being to the Family. Of obvious and high concern was the situation of those who had married, divorced and remarried, and are now unable to access the sacraments.
s the discussion progressed I could not help recalling that our book, God, Love, Life and Sex, already contained the kernel of the answers that needed to be worked out and applied. I recalled in particular those aspects of
“Matrimony is the sacrament that brings Jesus into the life of the married couple and gives them the special privilege of being the means of salvation for each other.”
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM
the book covering the absolutely necessary area of preparation for matrimony—the sacrament that brings Jesus into the life of the married couple and gives them the special privilege of being the means of salvation for each other. Without the sacraments that salvific role which they play towards each other, and towards their children, is significantly reduced, if not neutralised, as when in despair they give up the practice of their faith altogether. The Year of the Family provides us with the ideal opportunity to make a concerted start in bringing the considerable teaching, sanctifying and organising resources of the Church to bear on this essential area of Church and social life. While the debate around God, Love, Life and Sex may lead one to believe that it is solely about Humanae Vitae, and in particular the one line in that encyclical by Pope Paul VI—”Every marital act must remain open to life”—nothing could be further from the truth. The book actually covers many more aspects of married life and family life, including the crucial area of educating consciences, especially consciences of the young so that they make healthy and life-giving choices in life. I cannot think of anything that can sharpen a person’s focus more keenly on these key areas of life than what the Church put before us during Advent, when as I said at the beginning we were invited to reflect seriously on the four Last Things. Such reflection, done under the light and inspiration of the Word of God, is an ideal time for spiritual spring cleaning.
Ntsikana, the first Xhosa Christian Mphuthumi T Ntabeni HE period of extreme dislocation from the Cape Frontier Wars, the nine wars between the Xhosa people and European settlers from 1779 to 1879, created new problems that Xhosa chiefs could not solve for their tribes, and the nation at large. As a result, in the years immediately following 1812, Xhosa political leadership passed from the hands of chiefs to prophet figures. These prophet-diviner figures abounded, vied for attention of the nation that was fast losing its moorings and confidence in its traditional ways. Ntsikana was one of the more prominent prophets who emerged as the result of this need. Ntsikana (c1760-1821) was born to Gaba, a councillor of the chief Ngqika, and Nonibe, who was his second wife. He lived a traditional Xhosa life, marked by circumcision, a polygamous marriage and praise as an orator, singer and dancer at Qawukeni where his mother lived. Ntsikana encountered strands of Christianity through the proselytism of the likes of Reverends van der Kemp, Read and Williams of the London Missionary Society. Once, while doing a traditional dance he was extremely adept at, he excused himself to lie down because he was not feeling well. On his way home he was quiet, and then kneeled to wash off his ochre in a stream. As he was doing that, he suddenly said: “Lento indingenileyo ithi makuthandazwe!” (This thing that has come over me says there must be prayer!) Even before his proper conversion to Christianity he was opposed to the Xhosa
millenarianism of the likes of Nxele (or Makhanda), who had rejected missionary ideology (I wrote about him last month). By 1815, Nxele was more a war-doctor than anything, making the usual promises of the Xhosa war-doctors before him: “tying up the enemy weapons”, “turning their bullets into water”, “tying up their magic sticks”, and so on. In Ntsikana, Xhosa tradition and Christian religion fused into a world and religious view that didn’t betray what was most important in both. He came up with a comprehensive cosmological synthesis that is the envy of those who believe in acculturation on the one hand, and the purifying force of Christian message on authentic tradition on the other.
tsikana had achieved all this through personal revelation, evolution and taking the Christian message into his lived experience. In a way, Ntsikana established a pedigree for Xhosa Christianity independent of missionary influence, even as his teachings were infused and influenced by them. For example, he accepted Christianity’s notion of sin, repentance and salvation, even as he expressed them in a Xhosa traditional language of hunting and pastoralism.
Pushing the Boundaries
Ntsikana’s boil against Nxele seems to finally have burst after the Gompo incident, where Nxele had gathered Xhosa people around the rock of that name with a promise that the “river people” were going to emerge from there, bringing with them new cattle stock and wealth for the nation. When the “river people” didn’t turn up, Nxele survived the incident by ruse. He said the “river people” had been disturbed by the racket of ululating and chanting made by those who gathered around the area when he, Nxele, had instructed everyone to keep quiet. The majority of Xhosa people—living in desperate times, and so ready to believe anything—accepted Nxele’s explanation. But not Ntsikana and others. Ntsikana went around exclaiming that “Nxele has turned upside down! Why does he mislead the people?” He said Nxele was wrong in saying God is on earth: God is in the heavens! He told those who were coming from Gompo under Nxele’s influence; “You only go to wash yourselves with seawater at Gompo!” But the real witchcraft is “the badness of the heart”, which you need to repent against. He warned against Nxele’s pretensions to chiefdom: “I am only a candle. Those who are chiefs will remain chiefs because Continued on page 11
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The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
Fr Andrew Cox baptised Xenia Ntabeni, youngest daughter of Southern Cross columnist Mputhumi Ntabeni and his wife Helen, at St Margaret Mary church in Green Point, Cape Town, as Xenia’s siblings Paris and Umtha, and godmother Karen Parkin look on. Out of the picture is godfather Mike Brooks.
The King William’s Town deanery celebrated the closing of the Year of Faith with a unity Mass at the War Memorial Hall.
Children of St Joseph’s parish in Goodwood, Cape Town, received their first Holy Communion. They are pictured with parish priest Fr Mari Joseph OCD (centre back).
Our Lady of Grace parish in Umlazi, Mariannhill, welcomed 24 children into the Sodality of the Child Jesus. The sodality prepares children from the age of three to 13-years-old for the sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are pictured with parish priest Fr Christopher Hlengwa (centre back).
Fr Sean Lunney, spiritual director of the St Vincent de Paul conference at Holy Redeemer parish in Bergvliet, Cape Town, is pictured giving Christmas gifts to children at Jabulani Crèche and Educare Centre in Westlake, Cape Town.
The Southern Cross is proud to announce in association with Mariannhill Mission Press a year-long monthly feature of
WEDDING PHOTOS open to all couples married in a Catholic church between November 30, 2013 and November 30, 2014.
At the end of the year-long feature, our jury panel and readers will choose a COUPLE OF THE YEAR with two runners-up who will receive prizes of photographic canvas prints sponsored by Mariannhill Mission Press.
The following T&Cs apply: 1. Photos may picture only the bride and the groom, and must be in horizontal format. Digital pictures must have a width of at least 640 pixels. 2. The caption must state the bride’s maiden name, the groom’s name, the names of the parents, the date of the wedding, the name and location of the church, and the name of the officiating priest. The name of the photographer (and website, if professional) may be given as well. 3. Please include contact details of the bridal couple. 4. Photos of weddings which did not take place in a church are acceptable provided a Catholic priest officiated at the ceremony. 5. Entry to the competition is open to couples residing in South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. 6 Photos must be received within eight weeks of the wedding. 7. By sending the photo to The Southern Cross you agree that the couple depicted consents to publication in print and on The Southern Cross’ website and/or Facebook page, and to use for promotional purposes related to The Southern Cross and (in reference to the competition) by Mariannhill Mission Press. 8. While The Southern Cross aims to publish most submitted photos that meet our guidelines, the number of photos that can be published will be subject to space constraints. 9. All published photos and a selection of unpublished photos will be featured on The Southern Cross’ website (www.scross.co.za). Send your wedding photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or Wedding Pics, The Southern Cross, PO Box 232, Cape Town, 8000
Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Capuchin Poor Clare Sisters in Swellendam. He presented the community with a papal copy of the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Children from St Mary’s Development & Care Centre in Grahamstown visited children in hospital and gave them toys and fruit.
Four Holy Cross Sisters took their final vows.(Back from left) Srs Judith, provincial leader Francis Cooper, Keresencia and juniorate directress Sr Bernadette. (Front) Srs Loice and Florence.
The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
Listen to the pope’s voice The words of Pope Francis’ first major document, Evangelii Gaudium, excite the Catholic mind, but more importantly, listen to the spirit, argues GREGORY SOLIK.
HEN the 266th pope and successor of St Peter released his document Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), the evanescent term “apostolic exhortation” puzzled many people. The apostolic exhortation was written in response to the most recent meeting of the Synod of Bishops in October 2012. The synod was devoted to the subject of the New Evangelisation, and took place under the auspices of Pope Benedict XVI. Usually an apostolic exhortation distils and reflects the outcome of the synod’s deliberations, hopefully providing a blueprint for action on the subject under discussion, such as Africae Munus, Pope Benedict’s apostolic exhortation on the second Synod of Bishops on Africa. With Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis took a broader focus. There has been debate about where an apostolic exhortation ranks in the hierarchy of papal documents. Some say that the document is pastoral in nature rather than doctrinal or legal, and that ranks lower than an encyclical or an apostolic constitution. Some argue that it’s more important than this, but less important than that. This kind of talk misses the point. A helpful, albeit clumsier way, to
understand an apostolic exhortation is to think of it as a special letter from a successor of the apostles who calls out to his people with urgency and joy proclaiming the Good News. Evangelii Gaudium is a call to the People of God—bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful—to point to The Way. The most defining feature, for me, is the clarity and energy of his message. Pope Francis speaks right to the heart of what it means to be a Christian citizen in the contemporary world, and urges us into action. Evangelisation, he says, “is to make the kingdom of God present in our world”. This is always a radical task; one that dares to imagine an alternative reality, which is found in the Freedom of God. Linked to this is a manifestation of that daily conversation; being in solidarity with the least among us, the oppressed, and the marginalised through works of charity, justice and compassion. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who presented the document at a Vatican press conference summarised it as, “an invitation to recover a prophetic and positive vision of reality without ignoring the current challenges” (my emphasis). The pope’s criticism is plain: “The great danger in today’s world, pervaded by its consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent and covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted consciousness.” The Pastor Pope challenges all of us, the Church, to shake off our own religious domestication. This is what I find so palpable about his message. He lays down several new paths for the Church’s journey in years to
come, by rooting his reflection in spreading the word of God, touching on issues such as urban life, the Church’s missionary transformation, the economy, the homily and its preparation. Like his namesake from Assisi, Pope Francis elicits a special concern and reverence for the poor. “I can say that the most beautiful and natural expressions of Joy which I have seen in my life were in poor people who had little to hold on to.” This will surely be the great mark of his leadership. But even so, I can’t help but ask myself: I am really ready to follow? In truth, it’s not just the words I read that bounce around my head, but the spirit of my own heart. The Church currently occupies a space that is best described as luminal—in between spaces (past and present, abuse and healing, stale and missionary, disillusionment and revelation)—and Francis is clearly called to lead all Catholics across this threshold. He reminds us that while each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, all of us are asked to obey God’s call to go forth from our own comfort zones, in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel. This entails a “missionary conversion”, which will not leave things as they presently are. As a young lawyer and writer, that challenges me profoundly. It is tempting to hold onto all the important quotes, which make Evangelii Gaudium so memorable: l “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy
“I can say that the most beautiful and natural expressions of joy which I have seen in my life were in poor people who had little to hold on to”. - Pope Francis from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”; l “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” and a personal favourite; l “What is called for is an evangelisation capable of shedding light on these new ways of relating to God, to others and to the world around us, and inspiring essential values.” But despite this, and more, Evangelii Gaudium should not be remembered by its words. Instead, it is the spirit with which this letter is written that is so memorable, so joyful and moving. In it, I hear the fervour of St Paul to the Romans: “The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air” (8:1-2); or to the Corinthians: “I didn’t try and impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first
HESE are the names of the Associates of The Southern Cross, who have contributed to our Associates’ Campaign in 2013. The Chairman of the Board and Editor of The Southern Cross thank the Associates and contributors for their generous support. By becoming Associates or contributing otherwise, they have helped put The Southern Cross on a safer financial footing. They have also assisted us in our apostolic outreach. Thanks to our Associates, every seminarian in South Africa now has access to the weekly Catholic newspaper. The newspaper is also sent to prisons for inmates who wish to follow a Christian way of life, and to the Catholic university chaplaincies. These needs are ongoing. Existing Associates will be invited to renew their support for The Southern Cross as their annual associateship expires. Readers who have not yet done so may become Associates at any time. Cardinal McCann Associates are those who contributed R1 500 or more to the Campaign; Maximilian Kolbe Associates between R500 and R1 500; St Francis de Sales Associates between R100 and R499. An annual Mass is celebrated for the intentions of our Associates on January 24, feast day of St Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, and on All Soul’s Day for the deceased Associates and deceased family members of Associates.
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Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus Crucified” (2:12). Catholic writer Thomas Smith points out that the closing of 1 Peter is perhaps the first “exhortation”: “I’ve written as urgently and accurately as I know how. This is God’s generous truth; embrace it with both arms” (5:12). Pope Francis reminds us that the Spirit has its source in the heart of the risen Christ. Ultimately he reminds us that in the shadow of Jesus’ death, we are alive. Through this encounter we are invited to a life so sacred and so full that even in the face of the worst in this life unimaginable abundance is brought about through a right relationship with the Lord. Forget the words. Instead, open your hearts and get used to the sound of his voice. n Gregory Solik is a writer, chairman of MyVoteCounts, and research coordinator at the civil society group Ndifuna Ukwazi.
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The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
Vatican II diary of a controversial expert MY JOURNAL OF THE COUNCIL, by Yves Congar OP, translated from the French by Mary John Ronayne OP & Mary Cecily Boulding OP. Dominican Publications, Dublin, 979 pp. ISBN: 978-0814680292 Reviewed by Paddy Kearney OMINICAN Father Yves Congar, one of the best known and most influential theological experts (periti) at the Second Vatican Council, kept a personal journal of that event, despite his crippling multiple sclerosis which caused intense fatigue and made it difficult for him to walk. Yet he managed to attend endless meetings of numerous Council commissions, to do a vast amount of editing of Vatican documents, painstakingly weaving appropriate written and oral comments received from the bishops. Also to give a stream of lectures, talks, courses, as well as writing many articles and books, and being consulted extensively not only by bishops, but by hundreds of people of every rank in the Church and from all over the world. Mary Cecily Boulding describes the journal as written “with a tone of such uninhibited and brutal frankness that publication was embargoed until the year 2000”, and calls Congar an “inveterate grumbler”, both qualities being amply borne out in this 979 page tome. Congar describes one monsignor active in the Council: “Wretched creature, as full of pios-
ity as he is limited in outlook.” Cardinal Spellman of New York he dismisses in these words: “Spellman presiding: one does not understand a word he says.” But his cruellest barbs are reserved for the conservative Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo whom he describes as an “idiot”, “imbecile and subhuman”, “stupid and emptyheaded,” scandalised that such a man was prefect of the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities. Congar could be scathing too in his description of some of the liturgical events of the Council. On one occasion, when there was a delay while bishops were waiting for the outcome of the vote on one of the documents, he describes the intervening time as being “filled with the Ave Maria, Magnificat, Salve Regina—babies’ dummies to keep them [the bishops] quiet while they waited”. It was astonishing that Congar played such an important role in the Council, not only because of his disability but also because from 1947-56 he had had “nothing but an uninterrupted stream of denunciations, warnings, restrictive or discriminatory measures and distrustful interventions” from the Vatican. In fact he never fully recovered from this negative response to his writings and teaching, being fearful even in 1964 that the Vatican might still take action against him—two years into the life of the Council whose decrees were a mas-
sive vindication of his views. He still feared the Vatican, “because they realise very well that the whole aim [of my work] is to bring back into circulation certain ideas, certain things that they have been endeavouring to shut out for four hundred years, and above all for the past hundred years. But that is my vocation and my service in the name of the Gospel and of the Tradition”.
t is perhaps surprising, given this description of his role, that Congar was not one of the periti who clung most resolutely to their own views. He realised that his ideas would never fully prevail and was
therefore much more willing to accept compromise than someone like Fr Hans Küng. Congar had an acute understanding of what Pope John XXIII had in mind when he said that he wanted a “pastoral” council; it should, said Congar, seek to “express the saving truth in a way that reaches out to the men and women of today, takes up their difficulties, replies to their questions” avoiding the definitions and denunciations that had been so common in the years before the Council. It is clear from his Journal that Congar hoped the Council would bring about a genuine renewal of the Church that would prepare it for dialogue with, rather than rejection of, the modern world. He warmly welcomed the presence of other Christian churches and of the Eastern Catholics because he felt this would advance the process of reform. He saw right from the start that the reunion of Christians was the ultimate aim of the Council, but was keenly aware that this would require being refreshed by the biblical, patristic and liturgical sources of Catholicism. The Church should see itself as the “People of God” inserted into human history, rather than a citadel obsessed with a battle against enemy forces. It is called to enter into a true dialogue with the contemporary world, a dialogue in which the partners would enrich each other. For Congar, dialogue was at the
heart of the Council in another way too: it was dialogue between bishops and theologians that “made the Council possible”, but he feared that this cooperation would be most at risk after the Council—which, looking back over the past 50 years, has indeed been the case. He realised that the curial officials who held sway in the Church before the Council would have a powerful influence on the extent to which the Council’s vision would be implemented. This makes the various conflicts vividly described by Congar all the more significant for a 2014 audience. There is much to learn from this massive book. One of the most important discoveries is the realisation that the curia was clawing back its control even as the Council was in session. Relentless pressure was kept up on Pope Paul VI, making him grant conservative concessions to endless delegations of powerful curial officials whose views had lost out heavily in vote after vote on the Council floor. Congar’s Journal is fascinating and enlightening, but readers have to skip and skim through masses of detail unless they are attuned to the significance of every word, phrase, sentence and paragraph of the Vatican II documents. Obviously it will be a treasure chest or encyclopaedia for Council scholars, but it would be helpful to produce a much shorter edited version to reach a wider audience.
Exercises for the spirit in everyday life ROOTED IN LOVE, by Margaret Blackie. New Voices Publishing, Cape Town (2013). 236pp. ISBN: 9780620578615 Reviewed by John O’Leary RAYER, writes Margaret Blackie in her new book Rooted in Love, “is the name we give to the practice of noticing God”. Such sentences give this book a freshness and accessibility that is very appealing. An academic (in the field of chemistry) and a trained spiritual director, Cape Town-based Blackie intends the book as a contribution to the integration of Ignatian spirituality into daily life. Ignatian spirituality is based on
the teachings of St Ignatius of Loyola, co-founder of the Jesuit order. The book begins with taking stock of our lives. What do we do? What are our circumstances? Who and what energises us? Who and what drains us? From the beginning of the book there are many exercises which the reader ought to pause to do in order to get the most from the book. This is not simply a text to be read and thought about. It is a guide to living consciously our relationship with God. The framework of the book covers the raw material from which we can make a home for God. What are our images of God? Are those images likely to open up or close down our relationship
with God? How can we become accustomed to finding God in all things? This reminds the reader of another key phrase in the book: “paying attention”. Noticing and paying attention to what we want or desire in life is another important part of the journey. The notion of a journey suggests movement, another key word. These exercises are all about noticing and paying attention to movements in our lives. Movements of growth as well as movements of shrinkage. Movements towards God and other people as well as movements away from them. Many themes that readers will be familiar with are dealt with in a
readable and workable style that invites one to try the exercises. Blackie explains themes such as grace, discernment and indifference in their Ignatian context with clarity and demystification. That the exercises will not only help us to find God in all things but will also help us to allow God to transform all things is clear by the time the reader reaches the chapters dealing with making decisions, finding one’s purpose, how to be and act when things are tough, and dealing with hurts in personal relationships. The central core of Ignatian spirituality for Blackie “is that it is a spirituality for all people, in all circumstances. It requires nothing of us except that we pay attention
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to our thirst for God”. Read the book, and, more importantly, make the exercises.
The Southern Cross, January 8 to January 14, 2014
The first Xhosa Christian Continued from page 7 they were given [chiefship] by Him and only He can take it away; I have not added anything to myself; I am just as I was. Nxele is wrong in saying he should be saluted; he is not a chief.” Ntsikana died in 1821, but left a legacy of sacred songs (the first hymns composed in the vernacular) and committed followers. His recruits numbered people who would later be prominent in Xhosa history, like the father of Tiyo
Soga (I wrote about Soga in November). His best-known hymns were the “Life Creator” hymn, and “Ulo Thixo omkhulu ngosezulwini” (He, the Great God in Heaven). Ntsikana’s spirit is usually resurrected by those who want to draw on the wellsprings of Xhosa nationalism and Christian separatism. But Ntsikana, who had somehow successfully synthesised the two, would surely find this practice peculiar.
Christianity helps women rise from poverty Continued from page 5 bring their pastors into this very violent and very dark situation of their homes”, Ms Shah noted. “It was a unique finding. We were not looking for this,” she added. The Georgetown researcher pointed to the underlying factors that accompany an improvement in circumstances after conversion. “Conversion activates in the converts a powerful new concept of value and initiative,” she explained. It offers “a radically different way of seeing themselves: seeing themselves as a new creation, a new identity, made in the image of God, seeking a better life for themselves”, she said. “Poverty is inherently depressing. It’s discouraging. It’s debilitating. It breeds hopelessness: ‘why bother?’” she reflected.
Liturgical Calendar Year A Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday, January 12, Baptism of the Lord Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7, Psalm 29:1-4, 3, 9-10, Acts 10: 34-38, Matthew 3:13-17 Monday, January 13 1 Samuel 1:1-8, Psalm 116:12-19, Mark 1:14-20 Tuesday, January 14 1 Samuel 1:9-20, 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8, Mark 1:21-28 Wednesday, January 15 1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20, Psalm 40:2, 5, 7-10, Mark 1:29-39 Thursday, January 16, St Berard of Carbio 1 Samuel 4:1-11, Psalm 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25, Mark 1:40-45 Friday, January 17, St Anthony the Abbot 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22, Psalm 89:16-19, Mark 2:112 Saturday, January 18, Memorial of the BVM 1 Samuel 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1, Psalm 21:2-7, Mark 2:13-17 Sunday, January 19, Second Sunday Isaiah 49:3, 5-6, Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3, John 1:29-34
Yet with a new Christian vision, “the future is not terrifying. It can be achieved. Because God is with them, they can invest in the future. It’s not something to ignore, not something to be terrified of.” Moreover, through the combination of a new sense of identity and access to credit in microfinance, “the converts may harness their agency and capability into investing in the future to improve their lives”. Conversion, then, first “changes who they believe themselves to be, it changes their self-conception, their belief in who they are, and secondly, it changes how they can change their family’s future and themselves”, Ms Shah said. The researcher noted that although she has completed a pilot study, “we’re in the process of doing more rigorous research which will confirm these findings.”— CNA
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SCHIESSL—Sr Domitilla. Holy Cross Sister, Sr Domitilla, aged 89, passed away at Holy Cross Convent, Fatima House Retirement Home, Aliwal North, on 27 December 2013. Lovingly remembered by her family circle in Germany and the Holy Cross Sisters. May she rest in peace!
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OH HOLY SPIRIT, you are the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. You are the Spirit of Truth, Love and Holiness, proceeding from the Father and the Son, and equal to them in all things. I adore and love You with all my heart. Teach me to know and seek GOD, by whom and for whom I was created. Fill my heart with Holy fear and great Love of Him. Give me compunction and patience and do not let me fall into sin. Make
me a faithful follower of JESUS an obedient child of the Church, a help to my neighbors give me the grace to keep the Commandments and to receive the Sacraments worthily. Lead me to a happy death to everlasting life. Through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. Basil and Jo Gard HOLY ST JUDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. RCP. ST MICHAEL the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen. THANkS be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits thou hast won for me, For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, May I know thee more clearly, Love thee more dearly, And follow thee more nearly, For ever and ever. YOU, o eternal Trinity, are a deep sea into which, the more I enter, the more I find. And the more I find, the more I seek. o abyss, o eternal Godhead, o sea profound, what more could you give me than your-
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2nd Sunday: January 19 Readings: Isaiah 49:3, 5-6, Psalm 40:2, 4, 710, 1 Corinthians 1:1-3, John 1:29-34
EXT Sunday we continue our journey into ordinary time, and you may be wondering how we can survive another year of it. The answer that the readings seem to give us is that we have to keep our eyes on God. The first reading offers us another picture of the “Servant of God”, “He said to me: ‘you are my servant, Israel, in whom I reveal my glory’”. The poet is well aware that God is in charge. “The Lord who fashioned me from the womb to be a servant for him, to bring Jacob back to him, and Israel to be gathered to him.” That is our meaning: to live out the vocation that God intends for us, and then nothing else matters—“God is my strength”. But our task is not just for our own tribe and nation, the singer tells us, as he imagines God saying: “I am going to make you a light to the nations, for my salvation to reach the ends of the earth.” We can only do that if we keep looking towards the Lord. The psalm for next Sunday carries the same message of attentiveness: “I waited, I waited for the Lord”; but the attentiveness is rewarded: “He bent down to me and listened
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Keep your eyes focused on God Nicholas King SJ
to my cry; he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn of praise for our God.” We can only do what God gives us to do, and so the poet continues with the very shocking idea that “sacrifice and offering you do not want…holocaust and sin-offering you do not ask for”. Then we come to the only thing that matters: “To do your will, my God, is my delight, and your law is in my heart.” That is something that the Corinthians in the second reading were not very good at doing. Next Sunday we start several weeks of reading Paul’s first letter to that fractious church; and although it is not immediately obvious, what he is doing, as a way of coping
with their divisions, is to get them to look at what God has done for them. He achieves this by using various passive adjectives, to indicate (if the Corinthians are listening carefully to the letter) that all their boasting misses the point. So he describes himself as “called…through the will of God”, and his audience as “having been made holy in Christ Jesus, called to be saints”, and concludes our section by reminding them where they can find the “grace and peace” that they are so sadly lacking “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. The odd thing is that if we are to get our life right we must wrench our gaze from ourselves and look intently upon God. The gospel continues last week’s account of the baptism of Jesus, although we have moved from Matthew’s to John’s gospel. And the point here is that John the Baptist and his disciples are gazing firmly away from themselves, and towards Jesus. John is unselfish enough to point firmly in the direction of Jesus, and to lay on him a title that has stuck with us (we use it four times each time we attend mass): “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.
My ten 2013 favourite books A
FAMOUS line from St Augustine—De gustibus non est disputandum—suggests that taste is subjective and that what one person fancies might not be to another person’s liking. Under that canopy I would like to recommend the following books to you. Among the books that I read in 2013, these ten stayed with me in ways that the others didn’t. So, with no promises that your tastes will echo mine, here goes... Among the different novels that I read, I recommend: Alice Munro: Dear Life—Stories These stories won’t give you easy moral comfort, but will stretch you. They’re moral in that they name things as they are. Munro might have entitled these stories “It is what it is”! Since publishing this novel, she has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, no surprise to anyone in Canada. Barbara Kingsolver: Flight Behavior This is a novel about global warming which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, though everyone will learn from it. More important even than her moral message is the flashlight she shines into ordinary life. Told from the viewpoint of a young mother, trapped in poverty and frustrated by her lack of education and her lack of choices, Kingsolver brilliantly lays bare a human heart, with both its temptations and its virtues. Toni Morrison: Home Morrison isn’t easy reading, and her story line isn’t always the easiest to follow,
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Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
but her writing is art, the best, and her language conveys a colour and feeling that has few equals among novelists. She didn’t win the Nobel Prize for literature undeservedly. Within the genre of biography and history, these books stood out: Roger Lipsey: Hammarskjöld, A Life Lipsey, using mountains of material from the journals and letters of the Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld, reveals that Hammarskjöld was all that was hinted at in his own book, Markings, and more. Hammarskjöld, both as a public figure and in his private life, tried to mirror the greatness of life. Nearly 800 pages long, it’s worth the effort, the story of a great soul. Brenna Moore: Sacred Dread, Raissa Maritain, the Allure of Suffering and the French Catholic Revival (1905-1944) Not an easy read, but anyone with an interest in the world of Maritains, Leon Bloy, Charles Peguy, and the French Catholic Revival at the beginning of the last century will be given a deeper insight into that world. Kay Cronin: Cross in the Wilderness An old book, published in 1960, and
now available only in libraries, Cronin traces the history of the Oblate missionaries coming to Oregon and British Columbia and opening churches there. I was truly inspired by the selflessness and courage of these men and what they accomplished. French intellectuals, many of them, they were sent into the wilderness with little preparation and survived there on ideals and faith, and flat-out toughness. Food, shelter, and doctors often weren’t available. Reading their story made me, more than ever, proud to be a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Mary Gordon: The Shadow Man, A Daughter’s Search of Her Father We understand ourselves only when we understand our parents and how their virtues and weaknesses helped shape our own souls. Many of us are familiar with Mary Gordon’s brilliant book on her mother, Circling my Mother. Here she does the same thing with her father. How she understands her father will help us to understand our own. In the area of spirituality, I much recommend: Belden C Lane: The Solace of Fierce Landscapes, Desert and Mountain Spirituality Very much in the genre of Bill Plotkins’ book Soulcraft, Lane gives us insights into the important role that geography can play in shaping our souls, and hints of how we might more deliberately expose ourselves to that. For Lane, spirituality isn’t something that should be done only in air-conditioned prayer centres. Rather, nature, the desert, the wind, and the sun need also to wash over our souls and bodies. Jim Wallis: Rediscovering Values—On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street, A Moral Compass for the New Economy This book should come with a warning: It will upset you if you’re a fiscal conservative, but, if you are, you might want to give yourself this challenge. Wallis is as close to a “Dorothy Day” as our generation has. Donald H Dunson & James A Dunson: Citizen of the World, Suffering and Solidarity in the 21st Century Socrates said that he was a citizen of the world first, and only after that a citizen of Athens. How do we widen our hearts and our attitudes so as to live out a citizenship that’s wider than ourselves? Donald and James Dunson try to answer that. This book is a genuine moral compass, what prophecy should be. Good prophets don’t spray you with guilt; they make you want to be a better person. Again, de gustibus non est disputandum.
It is a beautiful picture, and we need to sit with it, looking at Jesus not at ourselves. That is what John does, as he continues “This is the one of whom I said: ‘After me is coming a man who was before me, for he is my Number One’”. Notice where John’s gaze is directed: “I didn’t know him—but the reason that I came baptising with water is in order that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then he gives further witness: “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven—and it remained on him: this is the one who baptises in the Holy Spirit”. We feel that this is all wrong; if we are to make sense of our lives, we simply have to “look out for Number One”. That is not the case, however. Our task is to watch what God is doing, and that means looking intently at Jesus. Then perhaps we shall be able to say, with John the Baptist: “And I also have seen, and I have borne witness, that this one is the Son of God.” That is a powerful affirmation, and our task is to look away from ourselves and at God, and so convert the world. Are you up for it, this week?
Southern Crossword #584
1. Pacific bird (4) 3. Not a novice yet, but keen (8) 9. Kind of cheese from a modest home (7) 10. Heavenly signs of the months (5) 11. The women asked who would do this for them (Mk 16) (4,3,5) 13. The award of a cup (6) 15. Belittled (6) 17. Halaal pill at place you might meet the king (8,4) 20. Residence (5) 21. Take steps to go back again (7) 22. Aided (8) 23. Remain (4)
1. Adorn with a papal medal (8) 2. Indispensable for life (5) 4. Currency of Israel (6) 5. Divine unchangeableness (12) 6. Sums of money (7) 7. Trial match for the cricketer (4) 8. Do you believe they will cure you? (5,7) 12. A commandment forbids it (8) 14. Roars to hear them preach (7) 16. Transfix Christ’s side (6) 18. Asunder (5) 19. First miracle town (4) Solutions on page 11
DAD was listening to his child say his prayer “Dear Harold”. At this, dad interrupted and said, “Wait a minute. How come you called God, ‘Harold’”? The little boy looked up and said: “That’s what they call him in church. You know the prayer we say, ‘Our Father, who are in Heaven, Harold be Thy name’”.
Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.